Cookie Butter Milkshake

I was walking through Trader Joe’s, and given the curious consumer that I am, I always make a pit stop at the ‘tasting station’ to see what little tasties they are offering. I usually don’t ever buy whatever they are tasting, but this one fine day, the cookie butter milkshake grabbed ALL of my attention. I went back for a second one, and HAD to recreate it at home. Friends that I have served this to can stand by the fact that this may very well be THE best milkshake in the entire world. Just when you thought that peanut butter-chocolate or strawberry-banana combinations were your favorite, THINK AGAIN!!!!!!

Cookie butter (a.k.a. ‘speculoos‘) is not peanut butter, it’s not almond butter. If you’ve ever had biscoff cookies, this is a butter made out of those gorgeous little bites of heaven. It is made out of cinnamon-spiced cookies, blended into a smooth, creamy, and outright ADDICTIVE butter. This recipe is not easy on the waistline, but indulge a little and share this recipe with your loved ones on a hot day! Treat yourself and replace a meal with this milkshake. You won’t regret it and will become an addict (like me). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Enjoy!!

Love,
Priyanka

PS – so sorry, but I had to be cheeky with this post’s picture. This milkshake feels a little healthier when paired with an apple ๐Ÿ˜‰ Life is all about balance, right?

Cookie Butter Milkshake PK

Yield: 1 amazingly delightful and perfectly balanced milkshake (picture above shows the amount that is yielded by below ingredients)

Ingredients
1/3 cup milk
1 cup vanilla ice cream
1.5 tablespoons of speculoos cookie butter (available for purchase at Trader Joe’s)

Directions

Put all ingredients into a blender, and blend for approximately 15-25 seconds, until you reach the milkshake consistency you desire. Note: If the shake is too thick for your liking, just add a little more milk and re-blend. Serve in a glass and enjoy immediately (with or without a straw/spoon!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Saffron and Cardamom Cupcake with Rosewater Frosting

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY EVERYONE!
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To me, Valentine’s Day is about love, but not only romantic love, but just as much about special friendships too. So I thought, what better way to celebrate today than with a SWEET recipe from my best friend B? ๐Ÿ™‚ She posted about these cupcakes that she had made and I literally could not resist trying to make them. She sent me the recipe and I am including it below. Boy, are these were delicious!! I have NOT, however, adjusted the recipe at all since it is my understanding that it was passed to her by other friends of hers and I do not want to change their recipe just out of respect ๐Ÿ™‚ The bold flavor of cardamom against the subtle creaminess of the saffron is incredible! These truly Indian flavors are completely transformed in this ‘American’ dessert and make for a winning recipe.

Do take the time today to tell your loved ones you appreciate them, and fill your mouth (and theirs!) with something sweet (like these cupcakes!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

Love,
Priyanka

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Ingredients
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cup milk (preferably whole), room temperature
1/2 teaspoon of saffron threads
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Directions

Preheat oven to 350ยฐF. Butter and flour a cake pan or 12 cupcake molds.

Add almond extract and a pinch of saffron to the room temperature milk. Set aside for 5 minutes then stir. If milk does not turn golden, add an additional 2 threads. Stir again after another few minutes.

Mix flour and baking powder together in a bowl using a fork and set aside.

Beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.

Slowly add the sugar and beat on medium speed until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Now, add eggs to the batter one at a time, beating for an additional 2 minutes.

Beginning and ending with the flour, mix 1/3 of the flour into the wet mixture at a low speed, then half of the milk, alternating until all ingredients are mixed. Add lemon zest, lemon extract and cardamom.

Transfer batter to cake pan filling until cavity is about 3/4 full and bake about 25-40 minutes (depends on your oven!) โ€“ until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon rosewater
1 drop red food coloring

Place the cream cheese, butter, rosewater, and food coloring in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed just until combined. Add the sugar and mix until smooth. Top your cooled cupcakes with this delicious frosting and serve! ๐Ÿ™‚

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

This recipe is straight from the infamous Ina Garten, a.k.a. ‘Barefoot Contessa’. I didn’t change a thing from her recipe because quite frankly, it was perfect the way it was!!

Here is the link to her original post of the recipe.

If any of you know me personally, you know that my favorite ice cream flavor is chocolate peanut butter. My favorite candy bar is Snickers. I eat peanut butter straight off of a spoon as a snack during my work day. I don’t need an excuse to pop pieces after pieces in my mouth of chocolate at ANY time of the day, hungry or not. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, it must be little surprise that I am posting a chocolate peanut butter recipe, and more surprising that this amazing duo has not graced this blog until now!!! ๐Ÿ˜›

I made these creamy, chocolatey, and light cupcakes for the holidays and gave them to some friends. I know many people that have nut allergies themselves or there is an allergy in their home – in which case you are welcome to just use a different frosting! The actual cupcake is so delicious, you may not even feel the need to have a frosting at all!

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

PS – this is the perfect ending to an amazing meal. Just pair it with a good bottle of dessert wine or a glass of hot tea or cocoa and you’re all set ๐Ÿ˜‰

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Yields: Approximately 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup good cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 2 sugars on high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. On low speed, add the buttermilk mixture and the flour mixture alternately in thirds to the mixer bowl, beginning with the buttermilk mixture and ending with the flour mixture. Mix only until blended. Fold the batter with a rubber spatula to be sure it’s completely blended.

Divide the batter among the cupcake pans (1 rounded standard ice cream scoop per cup is the right amount). Bake in the middle of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Frost each cupcake with Peanut Butter Icing (recipe below) and sprinkle with chopped peanuts, if desired.

Kathleen’s Peanut Butter Icing:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup heavy cream

Place the confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until creamy, scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula as you work. Add the cream and beat on high speed until the mixture is light and smooth.

Pri’s Out-of-This-World Cranberry Sauce

Thanksgiving is exactly one week away, so I thought I’d share my unusual and outright delicious cranberry sauce/jam recipe with all of you! This is a ‘sauce’ yes, however it is chunky and nutty and sweet yet savory (the nutmeg and pecans make it feel spiced and warm!). I was truly experimenting when I used dried apricots and blueberries, but this sauce ended up being so unbelievably good, I couldn’t stop eating it. Just when you thought turkey’s sidekick wouldn’t steal all the limelight, it does. This recipe is stellar, a crowd favorite (trust me, I tried it at my company’s Thanksgiving potluck and people enjoyed it tons!) and not to be missed.

What to with this when there’s some leftover (unlikely, but possible!)…slop it onto some crackers with brie cheese or top a scoop of vanilla ice cream with this after heating it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. AMAZING.

Enjoy!



Yields: 12 servings
Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 12 ounce package fresh cranberries
1 orange, juiced (or 1/2 cup of orange juice)
1 apple – peeled, cored and diced
1 pear – peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1 cup chopped pecans (raw, unsalted)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Directions
In a medium saucepan, boil water and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and stir in cranberries, juice of the orange, apple, pear, dried apricots, dried blueberries,pecans, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all of the cranberries burst.

Remove from heat, and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate and serve alongside turkey and mashed potatoes for a fabulous Thanksgiving meal!

Note: Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 1 week! Also, the sauce will be chunky because you’ve used fresh cranberries and other chopped ingredients, so don’t expect a liquid!]

Sweet & Savory Apricot-Plum Pie with Cheese

I recently attended my dear friend’s first annual pie party in San Francisco (how CUTE is that???). If you remember my recent Rustic Apple Tart post, my parents have beautiful fresh apples and apple-pears growing that I was planning to use for a traditional apple pie as my contribution to this super cute soireรฉ. However, silly me, the morning of the event, I thought that I should contribute something way more creative than just an apple pie – after all, I didn’t want my apple pie sitting next to 10 other apple pies! How boring!!!

And thus was born this savory and mildly sweet pie recipe that pleases your tastebuds in a way that you didn’t know possible. The sweetness of the fruit and honey against the mild, loveliness of the cheese and mascarpone, against the nutty walnuts and almonds and touch of citrus is a beautiful combination that was more of an experiment than anything – and boy I’m glad I took this risk!

Feel free to use Brie or Taleggio cheese (or any cheese you enjoy eating) – also you can use other dried fruit if you don’t have a liking for plums or apricots.

I hope you enjoy this – if you do get to try making this at home, I promise it will be a blissful party in your mouth! This recipe even won a prize at my friend’s pie party for being one of the top 3 most liked pies!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚



Ingredients

1 package store-bought pie crust
1/3 cup dried apricots
1 cup dried plums
4 ounces (or approximately 3 heaping tablespoons) of mascarpone cheese (you can use cream cheese instead)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup honey
1 cup of cubed Dubliner cheese, (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)- if you don’t have/like Dubliner, you can use Brie or Taleggio!
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut up into small cubes
1 egg, beaten

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Put plum and apricot pieces in a bowl of boiling water and let sit for 20 minutes to rehydrate. Once 20 minutes are up, drain them and chop them up into bite-sized pieces.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the pie crust to fit your pie pan and press the dough into your greased (or sprayed) pie pan using your fingers.

In a medium bowl, combine the apricots, plums, mascarpone cheese, walnuts, almonds, lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, and honey. Stir until all the ingredients are well-coated. Stir in 2/3 of the cheese cubes, reserving 1/3 of it.

Fill the pie crust with the filling (use a spoon or spatula to even it out). Arrange the remaining cheese and butter on top of the filling evenly.

Using a pastry brush, brush the crust with the beaten egg.

Bake until the crust starts to turn golden, about 15 to 18 minutes. Cover the pie loosely with a piece of foil and cook until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted, another approximately 10 to 25 minutes.

Cut and serve warm! Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

Rustic Apple Tart

I start this post with a picture of two of these tarts simply because if you have ANYONE else in the house with you, I suggest you make two of these. This deliciously sweet tart will fly off your serving tray and before you know it, you may end up with an empty plate!

I was inspired to make this after seeing a pear version of this being made on the Food Network and I decided to use two varieties of fresh apples from my parents’ back yard (apple-pear and fuji!). There is no greater pleasure than picking your own fruit and taking it home and making delicious dishes with that organically (and lovingly) grown fruit.

The holidays are coming up, although a rustic style apple tart like this is incredibly versatile and can be enjoyed for a summer lunch or holiday dinner alike.

Enjoy! ๐Ÿ™‚

PS – did you notice that this is made out of an equal ratio of all-purpose flour and organic whole wheat flour? Anything to make it a little healthier ๐Ÿ˜‰ It produces a delightfully crisp tart shell (but if you want to save time, feel free to use store-bought pie dough!)

PPS – for my strict vegetarians out there, this is an EGG-FREE recipe!


Yields: 1 tart that serves 6-8
Ingredients
Tart Dough
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, diced into cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
8 tablespoons buttermilk

Filling
4 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
4 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, tossed with 2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon melted butter
3 tablespoons turbinado sugar (or regular, granulated sugar works too)
Ice cream or whipped cream, for serving

Directions
Using a food processor with the bottom blade, add the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, and salt and pulse 3 to 4 times to combine. Now, add in the diced cold butter, cinnamon, and ginger, pulsing 10-12 times until your mixture looks like sand.

Add in the buttermilk and pulse until the mixture becomes dough-like (it won’t become a dough ball quite yet, but the consistency will become more solid).

Remove the mixture from the food processor onto a lightly floured board and knead with your hands until all the ingredients are well-incorporated.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into an oval, about 1/4 inch thickness. Rough edges are okay, but you can trim if you want with a butter knife. Transfer to a silicone mat or parchment lined baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Toss the mixture, coating gently and evenly.

Pile the apple mix in the center of the tart dough, leaving a border, and then fold the edges up and around the pears, leaving an opening in the center. Crimp any breaks in the dough.

Place the baking sheet with tart into the refrigerator for 20 minutes. At this point, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

After 20 minutes, remove the tart from the refrigerator and liberally brush all of the exterior of the tart with melted butter and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour.

Remove, allow to cool. Serve warm with ice cream and top with mint for added flavor! ๐Ÿ™‚


Kulfi: Indian Ice Cream

Oh kulfi (KUL-FEE), how I love thee! Ice cream has always been one of my favorite desserts, but Indian ice cream is on a whole different playing field. If any of you have had the opportunity to visit India, you can attest to the fact that milk in India is much more rich in both flavor and fat content. This translates to creamier, and more decadent ice creams served there! Mix a higher fat milk with delicious saffron, cardamom, and almonds, and you have an addictive and heavenly home-made ice cream!

Being in the US we do not have access to what I believe to be 8% fat milk (Vitamin D milk sold in the US is 3%), however using half and half and condensed milk does the trick and your result is a delicious frozen treat!

Kulfi or Qulfi is enjoyed street side by millions in the Southeast Asia region. In the above picture you can see stainless steel containers that the ice cream is frozen into. When served, they slice up the ice cream and you eat with a wooden stick! Kulfi is served in so many different ways, sometimes with sweet noodles cooked in sugar syrup called ‘falooda’, or with a healthier twist with some cut fresh fruits. You can be more modern about it and instead of slicing it up in pieces and eating it with a spoon like we do in India, scoop it up and put it into a cone and enjoy like regular ice cream! ๐Ÿ™‚

I hope you get to try this recipe – it’s my mom’s signature kulfi recipe that she is so excited to share with all of you! ๐Ÿ™‚


Ingredients

1 14 or 15 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 14 or 15 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup of half and half (regular milk will not work!)
1 cup almonds, soaked in hot water and peeled

2 slices of white or buttermilk bread, crusts removed

Spice Grinder Ingredients
a pinch (approximately 7-10 threads) saffron
5-6 pods of cardamom, peeled (you need to peel the green skin off and use only the black/brown seeds! [Note: they are the best and most fresh when they are black]
1/4 cup of granulated sugar

Directions

Put condensed milk, evaporated milk, half and half, and almonds into a blender. Blend for approximately 20-30 seconds until smooth (do not over-blend!)

In a spice grinder, add the saffron, cardamom and ginger and grind for approximately 20-30 seconds until a powder is formed.

Add these ground spices into the milk mixture and stir. Now add the two slices of crustless bread and pulse the blender a few times only to break up the bread a little (do not liquefy!)

Pour mixture in the ice cream machine (manual or electronic) and make ice cream according to manufacturer’s instructions.

If you do not own an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into a suitable container or ice cube tray with sticks in them, and place it in the freezer.

Garnish with sliced pistachio, if desired! Other fun garnish ideas are shredded coconut, mango slices, and sliced pineapple and strawberries!